Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Beginning at the Right Place, and Time by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Some time ago, I started a story and it seemed to be going really well, but when I reread it, a voice in my head started yelling, “NO! NO! NO!”

I took some time to consider it, and thought I’d figured out the problem and I came up with a solution. I kept the first scene, where the hero and the heroine first meet, but I dramatically changed what happened next, and I was getting somewhere.

Then life, and other stories, got in the way, and it was a while before I opened this version again, so I started by rereading it. And again, the voice was yelling at me. Then it dawned on me, the voice starts yelling when I’m on the first wonderful scene that I slaved so hard over to get it just right. The scene I spent hours writing, rewriting, and tweaking.

So what was the problem?

Simple, I had them meeting on the first day of school. At the time, I thought the hero meeting the heroine before he learns she needs help would be best, but when I thought about it that was kind of dumb. If a person were inclined to help someone out when they need it most, they’d do it whether they actually knew the person or not.

And the other issue was the premise of the story. It just didn’t seem possible for them to accomplish that task starting in the fall and ending before winter. A fact I had considered in my second version; among my dramatic changes, I had it that he started fixing up the place where most of the story takes place over the summer; they would just finish it together. But even then, they didn’t have enough time, because he hadn’t been planning to finish before winter. Until she came along, he didn’t need to.

So I needed to start from scratch. Well, not completely. I did have the character list, the backstory, and a few pieces of the other versions I could reuse with a little tweaking. But with scrapping that first scene, and changing the time of year of they meet, I was starting with a blank page.

And I started writing — twenty-one pages that first day. WOW!
Additionally I had just over 35,000 words seven days later, as in nearly half a novel in just a week. Can you believe it? And while I haven’t achieved that word average this week, I’m still moving along.

Of course, that isn’t to say that this will be the final version. I have over a dozen versions of at least one of my finished manuscripts, most I have between four and six versions. But I rewrite all the time, and then the editing starts making more versions, all saved in the same file.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this.


Happy writing everyone! J

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Of Wedding Rings by Konnie Enos


Why is it that people think engagement rings have to be big flashy diamonds?
I’ve seen this story on Facebook about a couple and their inexpensive wedding rings. Ariel Desiree McRae tells how her now husband Quinn McRae spent a mere $130 on her rings and the sales clerk at Pandora said it was “pathetic”.
Ariel defended her husband, saying basically it’s the thought that counts. Most of the comments in her support are from people saying they (or their spouse) spent very little on their rings and it didn’t matter.
I agree with them.
When I met my husband his mother was a penniless widow trying to raise her teenaged son alone. My mother and her husband were both muddling by on disability. My stepmother had a full-time job but my father had spent most of that year fighting leukemia so they had mounting bills and one less income, not to mention three kids still at home. Both my soon to be husband and I were in our late twenties, lived on our own and worked full-time. We both knew we’d be paying for our wedding.
I knew something else.
I have never, ever wanted a solitaire diamond of any size. I also knew there was no way either one of us could afford one without going into debt. Going into debt just to get married was ludicrous to me. I flat out told him not to get me one because I didn’t want one.
He didn’t. Though he did tell his youngest sister he wasn’t going to get me one.
SHE raided her jewelry box and found a small ring with the main stone being a pearl and a very small diamond to the side of it. The gold wrapped around it was shaped very close to a heart. She mailed this to her big brother so he could propose to me.
My sister-in-law hadn’t even met me yet, but she loved her brother enough to send one of her rings to him so he could have something to propose to me with. (Well actually, give to his fiancĂ© since we were engaged by then.) I still value that ring.
What is so pathetic about living within your means and providing for the needs of your family rather than splurging on extravagant things?
I never needed rings. We didn’t even buy wedding rings for ourselves until after we’d been married for a couple of months because we couldn’t afford them sooner.
That ring is just a piece of jewelry. It has absolutely no more significance than what you give it. You are no less married if you don’t wear it any more than you are more married if you spend more money on it.
Do you honestly think the couple who goes down to the courthouse to get married and only spends money on the license is less happy than the couple who spends several thousand dollars on that huge extravagant wedding is?
What really gets my goat is that sales clerk. I would not have let such a rude person get my sales commission.
As the sales clerk, her obligation was to show them rings within their price range and possibly indicate which ones she thought looked nice, but telling a customer they’re choice is pathetic is, well, pathetic. She’s in sales for pity sakes. She needs to learn how not to be rude to her customers.
My daughter agrees with me. She didn’t go broke getting her wedding rings (see picture).
And I’m in the throes of preparing for the wedding, which is Saturday.
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Camp Nano part 2 by Bonnie Le Hamilton


Camp Nano is over, and I’m telling you right now, it wasn’t easy for me. By the 14th, I’d only finished 14,835 words, when I should have been to 22,580 words. Meaning two weeks into the challenge, I was 7,745 words behind!
 By the 21st I was at 28,016 words, when I should have been at 33,870. I was closing the gap, but I was still behind at the end of the third week of the challenge!
I do know why I got so far behind. I kept realizing I had a plot hole, or I needed to show something sooner,  or some scene I’d already written wasn’t right, but if I changed it, I had change certain things that came before it, so I kept going back. In fact, by the 21st, I’d gone back through my entire manuscript 4 times editing and adding things, which wasn’t helping me at all.
Then came week four.
On the 22nd I managed to get to 32,521, but I was still short of where I should have been, 2,962 words short to exact. But I had least closed the gap further.
On the 25th, I realized I had another plot hole, and a few other things I needed to change entirely. But it was the 26th, and I had plans on the 31st, which I couldn’t change. So I decided that I didn’t have time to go clear through my manuscript (which, may I remind you is the one I started last November, so it isn’t nearly 50k long, it was closer to 75k on the 26th, and I’m a slow reader/editor ), so I determined to just write some notes, and press on. I had to finish. I set the goal; I was going to make it.
So, I moved forward, on the 26th I not only managed 3,158 words, I closed the gap! I was right where I supposed to be for my goal. Wahoo!
Then on the 27th I did 3,022 words. I had 5,039 words to go. I thought I can do this; I can finish before the 31st. All I had to do was to manage 2,520 on Friday, and 2,519 on Saturday. Since I had been managing at least 3,000 words a day, I knew I could do it.
So I started writing on the 28th with the goal of getting a minimum of 2,520 words, but I also told myself, if I could manage more, I should. And I did! When the day was done, I wrote 5,039 words! I reached my goal on Friday the 28th!
Now talk about perseverance and determination, writing that many words in one day took me all day. It was after 8 in the evening when I finally finished, but I did finish.
And I know not many writers have the time to spend an entire day writing but I’m so glad I could, and that I could reach my goal. And now to take a few weeks from writing to get some other things done around here, like laundry and dishes, and mopping the floor.
Yeah, I neglected a few things so I could write all day. But don’t all writers do that at least some times?

Happy writing everyone! J

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Dear Abby and Allergies by Konnie Enos

This morning one of the letters in Dear Abby’s column is from a parent wanting to know why their child’s school has to be allergy free simply because one kid of the 20 in the child’s class has a major food allergy. Why is the school forcing all the kids to follow an allergy free diet at school rather than helping the one child learn there is food he can’t eat? (Not exactly worded that way, but it was the jest of the letter.)
Dear Abby’s response was the school’s stance was to save lives and the parent was just going to have to learn to live with it (more or less).
When I was in sixth grade I moved. New school, new friends. One girl lived nearby so we saw her every day.  Nearly a year and a half later in seventh grade we learned she had a peanut allergy when she purposely ate her peanut butter cookie served with lunch that day so she could get of the rest of the school day. Yes, she told us she was allergic and was going to eat it anyway because she wanted to go home.
My daughter is so allergic to some things just having them in the house can send her into anaphylaxis and I know Bonnie’s husband had a similar allergic reaction.
I can understand wanting to protect young kids from the allergens. I really can.
But how is it protecting them if you never teach them what they can and cannot eat, or how life threatening it is to eat the food they are allergic to? How are they protected if you don’t show them how to find out if a food has or is cross contaminated by their allergen? How is it protecting them if you don’t teach them what to do if they are accidently exposed to it?
My daughter reads food labels. She keeps her medicines and epi-pen in her purse. She also keeps it packed with allergy free food she can eat so she doesn’t go hungry when she’s on campus or anywhere else. She is always prepared.
People with shellfish allergies like Bonnie’s husband had learn how to deal with it like he did. He knew he couldn’t go into a restaurant that served shellfish unless he took his allergies medications first. Just like my daughter knows that going grocery shopping (where there is shellfish) means she’ll have to take her allergy medications first.
Now imagine a child with allergies who has been coddled their entire life.
At home and school they have never been exposed to the idea that any foods could have their allergen in it. They may have been told they have an allergy but they’ve lived their whole life without ever running into shellfish, peanuts, soy or whatever else they are allergic to so they have no idea it’s prevalent.
Now they are adults. They’re on their own or at college and they’re in the grocery store for the first time.
That’s a mine field.
I’ve read food labels. Most every single commercially produced food in the US has or is cross contaminated with at least one of the recognized eight major allergens. Most of the few exceptions are specifically marketed for the allergy free.
I can see protecting these kids. I do know people who would react just being in the same room. But coddling them? No. They have to learn to protect themselves sometime.

Now smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Camp Nano by Bonnie Le Hamilton



As anyone who follows this blog knows, last November, the ninth to be exact, I was involved in a car accident. An accident that left me with a concussion, meaning, from that point forward for two months, I couldn’t read, watch, or get on my computer; that also meant I couldn’t write.

I’d made it around 25,000 words before I was told I needed to stop doing the very things I like the most, but most importantly, it meant I wasn’t able to finish the Nano for the first time since I started doing it. (There was one year where I didn’t get my win verified because I was on dialup back then and I was having phone line issues; the site wouldn’t load my manuscript.)

Anyway, when the notice came out about Camp Nano a couple of months ago, I decided that I’d try and do it this year. I usually don’t because July is after all my birthday month, I’ve never wanted to push that hard in July, but well, I’ve had trouble getting back into the habit of writing since that accident, so I decided I needed to try.

And I have to admit it’s been an extremely slow start for me. In fact, the first five days of July I averaged adding just 620 words a day to my WIP (The WIP I started back in November). And for the first eighteen days, I only averaged 999 words a day — not much better. I usually average 2,000 words a day, sometimes even more, from day one in the Nano.

I’m way behind my goal, which is again 50,000 words in the month. I’m hoping to actually finish my WIP.

But at this point, I’m going to have to write 3,000 words a day to do it. So far, I managed that yesterday, and I’m not counting this blog, so I’m going back to my WIP.


Happy writing everyone! J

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Senior Years by Konnie Enos

When I was a child it wasn’t uncommon to hear stories of children getting ahold of some type of medicine and eating them like candy. Before long people decided the best way to combat this was to put child proof, but not adult proof caps on the pill bottles.
Not long after these were introduced a humorous story came out about an older lady traveling alone. She had several medicines she had to take daily and they were now in child proof bottles. Since she had trouble getting the caps off herself, she told the hotel staff she might need help. They told her no problem they had an expert. When the time came she did need the help and they sent the expert in. It was a child.
It may have been nothing more than a humorous story but it was ironic that the woman needed the assistance of a child to open a child proof cap.
However it was after this story came out that pharmacies and drug companies started packaging some of their medicines in bottles that didn’t have child proof caps on them. Then they came out with two sided caps. One side is child proof and the other is easy open. My pharmacy will send my medicines with a child proof cap on them but also with an easy open one on the side. Your choice.
Since I was all of five when child proof caps were invented, I can’t really remember a time before they were around and I learned how to open them by the time I was ten. I found the story of the traveling senior citizen funny because I couldn’t understand why she couldn’t read the directions on the cap and get it open. Just like I could.
Then I learned about arthritis. After that I learned that some seniors just get weaker in the arms and have weaker grips.
As an adult, after computers became more widely used, they started talking about this syndrome that had been around for a long time but was now becoming more wide spread, and it affected the hands, carpal tunnel.
Okay, so there might be reasons older adults can’t open their pill bottles.
I was not one of them.
Then again, I wasn’t old.
Some years after I was told I had carpal tunnel I was prescribed a medicine that came in a child proof bottle. It was a squeeze and turn type, but it was particular in how it was squeezed. It was an as needed medicine but I don’t think I took it more than a few times simply because I could never get it open. If my husband wasn’t there to do it for me then I simply couldn’t take it. Considering it was for my asthma, it wasn’t a good thing.
The next time it was prescribed for me I convinced the doctor to request an easier open dispensing method. Now I get that particular medicine in individual dose easy twist open vials.
Even with that, I had no problems with any other type of child proof cap.
Until recently.
My dog needs allergies medicines once in a while and her pills are in a bottle with a simple push and twist cap. For the life of me I cannot get that thing open. I have become that senior lady in the story who can’t open the child proof caps.
Do you want to hear the funniest part?
My dear, older husband (by a whopping six months) does open that bottle for me, each and every time.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

July Birthdays by Bonnie Le Hamilton



I wrote the poem below way back in my high school days, and I wouldn’t say I yearn for today all year anymore, quite the contrary, but I thought about this old poem when it came to writing this post.
Dawning on the horizon

So beautiful and bright,
A new day, but just any day,
Today is the day, the very day,
That special one,
That comes only once,
The day of all days!
The day that I always yearn.
Yesterday was for fireworks,
Today is for ice cream and cake!
It’s here! It’s here! It’s here, today!

I’m not the only one with July birthdays; I know a great many with birthdays this week, Actually I know people with birthdays from the first through the sixth, four today including myself, and several others scattered throughout the rest of the month.

And the other day I learned a few things about July.

July’s flower is the water lily. According to Buddhism, enlightenment is associated with this blossom. Brides choose it as a bouquet, since it represents chastity and purity of heart and soul. In Western cultures, water lilies represent eloquence and gracefulness.

July’s bird is the Eagle! How great is that? I personally love eagles and have a collection of them. (I also love Naiveties and owls, but those are other issues). Native American’s see the Eagle as a symbol of strength, leadership, and vision.

And finally, July’s birthstone is the ruby. This gemstone represents passion and love, it is as resilient as sapphires and only slightly softer than a diamond, plus some consider the ruby to bestow harmony, success, and emotional balance and contentment to its wearer.

And I really need to me a ruby ring! J


And Happy Birthday to all July babies! And happy writing everyone.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Stream of Thought by Konnie Enos

Do you ever have one of those weeks with all the best intentions and a nice to do list but then it just doesn’t happen. Seems to me this week there have only been two things I really needed to do other than the normal errands, and I haven’t gotten either one of them done.
One thing I’ve needed to do is finances, which I have worked on, but not completely updated, nor have I done my usual preparations for the new month and payday is coming fast upon us. I’m behind schedule. This means I’m going to be spending, well I’m assuming as much of today and tomorrow, and Friday, and possibly Saturday and again on Monday and probably still on Tuesday as possible updating my checkbook registers, balancing accounts and paying bills. Yes, it takes me that much time. If it was just my own accounts I could do it in a day, but I have to deal with the men in my family too, and their accounts. I could spend all day on how frustrating my husband is and another day on how frustrating our oldest son is, which is almost as bad as his dad.
Then again, I won’t get to spend any full day on finances anyway because my family won’t let me. At some point they’ll need me to run them somewhere or go to the store or there’ll be some reason they need my attention and of course it’ll be more important than getting the bills paid.
The other thing I’ve needed to get done this week, and I even started, at least three different times, was writing this post. Now writing anything has its own set of problems. There is still the very real issue of interruptions, but there is also the problem with losing your train of thought.
Three different time I started this post and got a fair piece written than last my train of thought. I couldn’t finish it. I couldn’t even make sense of what I’d already written. Scrap that. Start again. Then that one didn’t even work.
I can easily blame my distractions. Most of the time I was in the middle of writing and one or more family members would either come in to talk to me or they’d insist I needed to be doing something else. Okay so at least once that was taking them to a doctor’s appointment and another time it was going to the store because we were out of things. But honestly none of those ideas worked because they weren’t well thought out to begin with. Or maybe they were too well thought out. Sometimes just typing what you are thinking works far better than trying to focus on a topic.
I’ve been told, more than once that steam of thought writing can simulate the creative process. Maybe it can. It can sure help get a post written when no ideas are coming to you.
On the home front two special things have arrived in the mail since I last posted. First, and just this week, I received a wedding announcement from my oldest child. The other one was a letter to our youngest daughter accepting her into the program at her college she wanted to get into, her first step on becoming a veterinarian.  
And lastly, next week we celebrate the birth of our nation. I saw a post on Facebook asking what symbolized the Fourth of July to you. My first thought was birthday cake. Bonnie and I celebrate our birthday the next day.
Have a Happy Fourth. Happy Birthday Bonnie.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

POV By Bonnie Le Hamilton


POV stands for point of view, or rather where the person is standing to view a scene. If you’re talking about a place it could be a scenic lookout, but even then, by looking at the same spot from a different direction or distance, you can see something different.

I actually know of a spot, where, when driving a particular road, you’ll see up ahead on the left what looks like a face formed in rock, but as you get closer, that formation will spread out until there is no recognizable face at all. At a distance, the formation appears to be much narrower than it actually is, and only small protrusions of the longer formation can be seen from a distance. And those outcroppings combined with what is visible of the formation appear to be a face.

Prospective makes a huge difference. The same goes with what we are writing in our stories. And I know I’ve said this before, because it can make a big difference. Generally, as writers we tend to lean toward writing a scene in the POV of the character with the most to lose. Essentially, we write a scene in the POV the character with the strongest feelings, in doing so we must recognize that the other characters who view that same scene will view it differently.

Not because of where they are standing, but because of how they are feeling. All of us filter what we see and experience through our own emotions, so each of us experience the same event differently, because we feel them differently.

And just because one character doesn’t like what happens, doesn’t mean another can’t hate the event too, but for totally different reasons. And to say one characters feelings are immaterial is ludicrous. The feelings of one character doesn’t cancel out the feelings of the other, even if you are only showing one POV, both characters have feelings. 

I think the romance novels which have the “he said/she said” scenes depict this quite well, and I’m certain I showed it myself in a phone conversation scene I wrote years ago. In that, I included each character’s feelings to what they were saying and hearing. It was a simple back and forth, but it wasn’t they’re words which told the story it was their thoughts.

Each of them viewed what was being said differently, because they each felt different about it. That isn’t to say one point of view is wrong and the other is right, because they are both correct.
The event is the same, but the emotions are different, and one interpretation of the event doesn’t cancel out the other interpretation because everyone bases the interpretation on their feelings, not on the event itself.

Someone once told me that sometimes you could learn a lot about a character writing a scene from that character’s prospective instead of the one you have. I think that for some it will be an eye opener, just like when we try to see real events from the prospective of someone else. If we do it right, we see the difference and come to understand the other person better, if we do it wrong, the gulf remains.

In writing, we must at least visualize the feelings of every character involved, so that we show their reactions correctly. It is by far not the whole picture, but it is at least some of it.


Happy writing everyone. J

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Mom’s Big Day by Konnie Enos

Being a mother isn’t the easiest job in the world. There is there no effective guidebooks covering everything so you are pretty much doing just about every single job you can think of all at once. You are also on duty twenty-four/seven from the time you have your first child until the day you die.
As a mother I think the hardest part is raising well-adjusted, capable, human beings. That alone takes a great deal of effort and you’re almost completely on your own.
There are tons of books out there on parenting. And there will probably be lots more. And it would be easy to find parenting books that didn’t agree with each other, or with tips and ideas that really don’t work for your family.
Why?
I’m going to repeat myself now. No two people are exactly alike. You can’t find answers in books because there isn’t anybody else exactly like “Jonny”.
Don’t get me wrong. Those parenting books can help. Glean what you can from them, but because each child is an individual, you just have to figure out each of your children to know what works and doesn’t work with them and for your family.
That’s the hard part, and time consuming.
You spend twenty or thirty years putting all your time and effort into raising these kids, hoping for the best, praying they turn out okay and then just waiting to see the end results. That’s all you can do, wait and see how it all turns out.
You watch them as they grow up and always wonder if you are doing things right. If maybe you should handle something differently.
They go through their rough spots, their teenage rebellion, and you’re positive you’re not doing it right. They have problems in school or making friends and you wonder what else you can do or what you did wrong. It never gets easier because every bump in the road you wonder what you did wrong and what you need to change to make things better.
But dealing with another human being means they have a roll in how things turn out too so you can never tell what the outcome will be. With your first born you could just take away the TV, but your second born doesn’t mind spending hours alone in their room. Each child is different. So it’s hit and miss, a learn as you go experience, raising kids.
But one things for sure they are probably not going to come right out and tell you how to raise them or that you are doing things right. That’s why you have to wait and see how they turn out.
My children are getting to the age where I can start to see how they are going to turn out. My oldest will be getting married soon and her two sisters are in college. (My boys are in high school.)
But the real test is seeing how they do raising their own kids. We’re clearly not there yet.
But the other day I had two separate conversations with my two daughters still at home. I don’t remember how either one started other than I was driving each one somewhere, or really what we were talking about to begin with. I also know that I never mentioned my first conversation to the second girl. 
But at some point both my daughters said, “You got it right, Mom.”
I raised them right. I did a good job. Made my day.
Oh, and Happy Flag Day.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Write What You Know by Bonnie Le Hamilton



Writers the world over have probably been told a time or two to write what they know. I heard it a lot in high school, and at some point, I began to wonder how any author could come up with more than one story, if authors can only write what he or she has experienced personally. To my mind, even all those years ago, I didn’t think I’d be able to write a decent story, if I had to stick with only things I’d personally experienced.

I mean I did try. My two novels dating back that far have a heroine who was two years behind in school. That was something I did know. And in one of them, I originally had a scene where the hero and heroine meet while watching a pair of swans taking off in flight from a place called The Oxbow, it’s on the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park.

The setting exists, and that pair of swans did once take off in flight, but there had only been one person standing on the bridge above watching — one young lady. Me.

And, just so you know, that’s one sight I will never forget.

But even as I wrote both of these stories, I felt like I wasn’t really writing what I know. Yeah sure, I’d seen those swans myself, and yeah sure, I had been two years behind in school, but neither of those characters were twins. I’m a twin, I know what being a twin is like. And yet, while I have had characters that are twins, I’ve yet to write a story where the heroine is a twin.

And I’m still not sure why.

Then I discovered Dick Francis.

Now anyone who knows me knows I’m a big fan of his. I have been for years, but well after reading a couple of his books, I started thinking he must have led a fantastical life, considering all the careers he knew so much about. I was beginning to wonder how I could ever write anything when I had such limited experience. Then I learned a few things about him personally.

Number one, he had been a jockey, which explains why horse racing plays such a major role in many of his stories, but he’d also been in a pilot in World War II, explaining his stories where the hero is a pilot. But he never lost a hand; he never suffered the injury his character Sid Haley suffered nor have I ever discovered any information on him saying he was a fraternal twin like his character Kit Fielding.

And what of the artist living on a Scottish mountainside? Or the wine merchant, or the glassblower, and oh so many other characters. He didn’t do all those things! It was physically impossible for one man to have that many careers in one lifetime.

So how did Dick Francis do it?

Research! From what I’ve read of him, he’d interview people in those fields, picked their brains for details, or even follow them around for a few days. And his writing shows that knowledge, making each novel interesting and fresh.

So the take away is, write what you know, but don’t limit yourself to personal experience. Go out there and find the information you need to make your story realistic!


Happy writing everyone. J

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Animal Characters by Konnie Enos



Recently we were discussing using animals/pets in our stories. Bonnie mentioned she has them in a number of hers but I can only come up with two of mine that do, and only one of those has indoor pets. They both start on farms.
Considering I have a house full of animals, Bonnie found it surprising I didn’t incorporate them more into my stories.
Since we’ve moved into this house, a little over twelve years ago, we’ve develop something of a menagerie here. Dogs, cats, mice, Guinea pigs, hamsters, and parakeets. All of which have personalities all their own.
My own Mabel insists on joining me in the bathroom than stands, with her back to me, staring at the door until I open it. I haven’t decided if she’s standing guard or simply doesn’t like closed doors, but then she doesn’t do that when the bedroom door is closed. Maybe it’s the small space?
My husband’s dog will cower at loud noises. So the Fourth of July will find him either shivering in our bed or cowering under my husband’s desk. Though he could find another place to hide if he doesn’t feel safe enough there. The other day he climbed in our daughter’s bed and laid on her considerable amount of hair because something scared him. Took forever to get him off because we couldn’t find Dad.
Then there is said daughter’s own dog. He doesn’t like loud noises either. One time a neighbor kid was over here and he had a balloon.
You guessed it. Somehow that balloon popped, and near Gunner.
That poor boy was so terrified we could see the whites of his eyes. It was all I could do to hang on to him while yelling for someone to run for my daughter who was at the neighbor’s house.
Thankfully one of the boys visiting here ran fast to get her from his home where she was visiting with his sister.
One of our previous dogs (Rusty died nearly three years ago) was really laissez-faire. He was our largest dog and at the time we had two cats. He walked into this house and his whole attitude was like, “Oh you live here, I live here now too.” He was a huge sweet heart and he really loved our one cat.
Anyway as I was thinking about this total lack of animals in my stories, I thought of all the personalities of our pets. Each and every one of them, large and small.
And my one overriding thought was, “I can see how “The Incredible Journey” could be written.”
Including animals in your stories isn’t just giving your character a pet, but creating another character for your story.
They need a name, a description and a personality.
And just like with humans, no two are exactly alike.
My one daughter has now had two Guinea pigs. One really loved his green vegetables and loved being held and would pull on her zipper every time. Her current one doesn’t mind being held and petted, but doesn’t pull zippers and much prefers his fruits to his vegetables.
Even our dogs, each and every one has been different. You can get some idea of their temperament and personality from what bred they are, but that is never the whole picture. Just like with humans, you have to get to know each one individually.
I believe that’s why I don’t put more animals in my stories. I already have enough characters in them.
But then writing another story similar to “The Incredible Journey” might be fun too.
What do you think?

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Writing Gene



Writers abound in my family; poets, journalist, and just plain writers, there are lots of us, most of my siblings, several cousins, Father, Mother, grandmother, aunt. For years, we’ve talked about writing being in our genes, and I believe I’ve found the proof. (Well except for my mother and grandmother, they only married men on that line.)

I was online looking at my family tree and the name Shakespeare jumped out at me. (I’ve always been a big fan.) Then just a couple generations later, I find a Shakespeare who lived in Stratford on the Avon! So I opened another window and looked up The Bard’s birthday, and the fellow I was looking at was older then him. So I looked up The Bard’s father’s name, and it wasn’t Richard, the name I was looking it, but well Richard was enough older then good old William that I decided to check who Richard’s kids were, well of course I did know one, the one I come from, but when I checked, the first child listed was John!

That was Shakespeare’s father’s name. And yes, when I checked who John’s children were, William was there — the William Shakespeare, picture and all!

The fellow I descend from was John’s little brother, but that still means, William Shakespeare is a distant cousin of mine! Writing really is in my genes.

Now to go back to my WIP, I have a lot of editing to do. After all, I have a rather auspicious heritage to live up to.


 Happy writing everyone! J

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Of Bras and Other Monstrosities by Konnie Enos

Everybody is different.
Yeah, I know, I’m a broken record.
My husband has a stuffed full closet of clothes and every morning when he gets up he jumps into his clothes, including shoes, almost before he does anything else. Every day. Even when all he is going to do is walk across our room and get on his computer.
Me? Are you kidding? Why get dressed if I don’t have to?
Once upon a time I went rounds with my husband because of my tendency to stay in my pajamas all day. It is often used as a sign of depression so he was understandably concerned.
I finally had him step into our walk-in closet, look around and tell me what he saw. It took some coaching but he finally saw what I already knew.
Our closet at the time had two long bars on each side as you walked into it. I figured his and her sides and put clothes away accordingly. My husband, however, has never understood this his and her space or that a closet can be organized. That and the fact he simply had more than I did meant his clothes overflowed onto my side. I also had a selection of our children’s Sunday best clothes hanging there. About eighty percent of the closet was full of clothes that wasn’t mine.
I pointed out that dressing everyday meant doing my laundry far more often than I already was and since I was already doing several loads a day, well, I didn’t need or want to do more.
 So my husband and kids have gotten used to my non-clothes hog ways and not getting dressed every day. Even now when I have more than three outfits to my name they know I have no plans to go anywhere simply because I’m not dressed.
Of course it isn’t really to save time on keeping them clean. Bras and shoes are monstrosities. Abominations to be endured. Preferably for the shortest period of time possible. And clothes? Only the most comfortable. I’ve never worn jeans of any kind simply because I don’t find them comfortable.
Keeping all this in mind, yesterday morning my husband returned from taking our sons to school to find me up, dressed and reaching for my shoes.
What would you be thinking at that moment?
He asked me, “Do you have errands to run?”
Now mind you we had talked before he took the boys off to school. Yes, I realize it was early and he may have been half asleep, I certainly wasn’t awake. I was in fact still lying in bed with my eyes closed, but I know I told him I had no plans for the day.
I looked at him like he was crazy, thinking he’d clearly forgotten the obvious. When he didn’t immediately realize his error I said, “No. I have a dog.”
I’m still laughing about.
He’d clearly forgotten I’d recently acquired a dog who likes her daily walks. Good exercise for both of us.
And don’t worry, the shoes came right back off as soon as I returned. If I’d been at all uncomfortable I would have changed back into my nightgown. I really didn’t have anywhere to go.
But even Mabel, who I’ve only had for about a month now, knows when I get my shoes one on I’m going outside. She even knows what it means when I grab my purse and keys.
Smart dog.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Bane Of Writers by Bonnie Le Hamilton

  









In centuries past scribes everywhere groaned and complained about worn nibs and ink splatters. Even to this day, writer’s who prefer pen and ink, complain when their pen stops working or they run out of paper. (I’ve never known a true writer to ever be without a pen, but even I’ve run out of paper, once in a while.)

But it is an age old problem, needing to write, wanting to write, and not being able to write due to mechanical error. In days gone by a quill nib failing meant you either had a spare, or you had to go find a new one.

I don’t know how hard that would be, but I do know not all feathers will work as quills. And even if you found one, it did require work to shape the nib. And the invention of pens didn’t improve things all that much. Back then you had to fill the pens with ink by yourself. A messy job from what I’ve been told. But modern pens run out of ink, with no way to refill them. Having spares does work, of course. But you can’t always bring the spars with you.

I recently had a pen give out on me while I crossing things off my grocery list. It was the only pen I had with me. And I usually have spare on me, that time I didn’t.

Though when it comes to writing stories, I prefer using my computer, so the problem is — what happens when one key on a computer isn’t working, as it should? If I had a desktop, it would be easy to replace a keyboard. Just unplug the malfunctioning one and plug in a new one. But I don’t have a desktop I have laptop. The keyboard is replaceable, except it will require time in the shop —time where I won’t have my lone computer.

I do have pen paper, I use those for all sorts of lists, but I also have horrible handwriting, and carpal tunnel syndrome, writing a lot, by hand, would be painful, being without my computer for a couple days isn’t going to fun either.

Though by the time this is posted, I might just have it back, or at least soon after. 


Happy writing everyone! J

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Dinner Surprise by Konnie Enos

Image result for family dinner pictures
For the last couple of years in my household it has become increasingly harder to have a family dinner.
Now I know what you’re thinking.
I have teenagers. They are always busy and would rather spend time with their friends.
No. That isn’t the problem.
Around here the problem is diets.
No. Not the losing weights type of diets, though I am attempting to lose weight, but rather the medically necessary types of diets.
There are six people in this household. Fully half of us have restricted diets. And none of our diets are the same. So to get a meal on the table I would have to accommodate four different meal plans in order to make sure everyone had something they could eat (well, and the boys would eat). So family meals just went by the wayside. It was too hard to accommodate everyone.
Now even when I do try to fix dinner for the family my sons would rather get something for themselves, or only eat part of what I fixed (example: the entre but not the side dishes I fixed to go with it, or the side dishes but not the entre.) While my daughters have to pick and choose. One can’t have the meat, like at all. She’s now vegetarian, not to mention all she’s allergic too. And the other one can only have certain food, on a very short list. Believe me her medical condition is not fun.
So the other night when I went to make dinner I wasn’t thinking about what all my kids could eat. In fact, I only asked my husband what he’d want for dinner. Once I had his order, I proceeded to cook it.
He requested baked potatoes.
Okay, I’ll cook four, then we can have leftovers if none of the kids want them.
He also wanted hamburgers. Yeah, weird combination with baked potatoes, but okay. I went with four again. Either leftovers or maybe a kid or two.
He desired green beans too. Okay. I fixed dinner.
When everything was cooked. I fixed two plates. One for me and one for my dear husband.
I told my youngest son he could have any of the food he wanted.
He took one of the hamburger patties, got some bread and, well, made a hamburger.
I told my youngest daughter there were baked potatoes if she wanted one. She took one
I told my other son there was food.
He did the same thing his younger brother did.
Then my oldest child at home came out and her sister pointed out the last potato. I confirmed she could have it if she wanted.
Finally my husband came out to get his food.
I looked around the table.
“Unbelievable. I actually made dinner for all of us.”
My oldest child and boys never touched the green beans. My boys never touched the potatoes and my girls never touched the meat. So four hamburger patties and four baked potatoes fed six people.
I was amazed.
If you’d been in our house anytime in the last two years and seen the struggle it was to get a family dinner on the table you would understand why I found that simple meal so amazing.
The other thing I’ve found amazing this week is my baby is now a whopping sixteen years old. Not only that, but that big baby boy has turned into the biggest family member. Well, our immediate family, so it wouldn’t be that hard to be the tallest, though he is 5”9’. Nice to have someone to reach the top shelves and change the lightbulbs for me.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.